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So.., what're you gonna do about it? asks Astrid matter-of-factly, every time a pensive Hiccup finds himself in a knotty situation. Thus, when the blue-eyed, dragon scale armour clad warrior girl pops the question again midway through How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, one cannot ignore but ponder over the relevance of the simple yet million dollar question which has a growing relevance and makes oodles of sense throwing a power-punch at almost everything concerning our actions and the repercussions that impact nature and the natural order of things.
Well, without getting into the nitty-gritty of it and to answer the same just as a Hiccup and Toothless fan, we did our best by waiting patiently for four years after the first instalment before HTTYD 2 was released... and for four more for the alpha dragon and his rider to return in the energetic final sequence. Did the wait pay off? Speaking humbly, it paid off in leaps and bounds. What a well-deserved ending to the trilogy that delivered as much firepower in each of the instalments as its fire breathing dragon/s and the firebrand hero.
The Hidden World unleashes more exotic dragons and many unfamiliar traits of the Berkians' pets. Brilliant animation and equally stunning visual effects take this sequel to heights beyond the achievements of its predecessors, in colour and imagery. From a disquieting friendship between two feuding species to a bond between Hiccup and Toothless that stands the test of time, the prequels had delighted the audience. The final installment launches a different assault on the strength of their friendship with the lures of a newfound love, of freedom, and of the conscientious choice between right and wrong.
Berk is now a cohabitation of humans and dragons or more specifically a multitudinous of the latter who greatly outnumber the Viking lot. Hiccup has successfully turned the island into a safe haven for dragons. But the air of merriment only lasts so long. Threat lurks over the horizon with a new name - Grimmel, the savage dragon hunter who has his eyes on Hiccup's Night Fury. The inter-species rift ironed out, the sequel focuses on the clever defenses put forth by the dragon protectors against the crafty hunter. Amidst the mayhem, it is amusing to watch the [Night & Light] Fury love story unfold which gives the audience a tickle every now and then.
It is a consolation to hear the calculated cadence of Stoick (Gerard Butler) in memory flashbacks after he met with an untimely demise in the previous film leaving the audience in a gasp. The distinctive head-cold nasal intonation of Jay Baruchel (Hiccup) and voices lend to the favourite characters by other prominent actors (especially Cate Blanchett as Valka) comes yet again as a refreshing draft since HTTYD 2. Kudos to director Dean DeBlois for replicating the same vivacity in each of the installments of the franchise without ever flinching from the course that he set on eight years ago. It won't be a surprise to see the film on most shortlists of 2019 awards. The only thing missing was "Forbidden Friendship". It would have been a joy to hear that track anew before the trilogy said adios.
Replete with wit and moral richness, HHYD: The Hidden World is as much an appeasement for the junior folks as it is enlightening for adults. Finally, getting back to that million dollar Astrid question, it doubtlessly gives a prod to our weakening fundamentals and tech-addict brains which don't pay much attentions to the evils rife around us. What remains to be seen is will this story be a game changer or will it just be another visually stunning and utterly engaging experience to be shelved in the Hollywood library without even causing so much as a twitch.